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Table 2 Overview of themes, sub-themes and illustrative quotes

From: Social media use and social connectedness among adolescents in the United Kingdom: a qualitative exploration of displacement and stimulation

Theme Sub-theme Illustrative Codes Illustrative quotes
Displacement of face-to-face socialising Socialising with family Family dynamics; Keeping in touch I have family [abroad] and, like, I have my mum’s cousin’s daughters on Instagram and I just like it and comment and stuff. But my mum connects with her mum…but it’s like money… …We have this group chat with loads of family, like, around the whole world and we always talk, if there’s something happening, events and stuff. (F3)
Socialising with friends Nothing to do; Meet new people I guess it’s just like them being there, it’s not like we have to talk every day, but you can once in a while talk with them and it’d still be the same as primary…. And if it wasn’t for social media, we probably wouldn’t be as close as we were and are. (F12)
Social obligations Obligation to be available Being available; Multitasking Sometimes it does feel a bit like a job, it’s like, “Right, got to check it now, got to do this.” Sometimes I don’t even want to but I just have to. Again, I don’t want an argument to happen if I’ve ignored someone for like a week because I just didn’t want to open their message or anything like that. (F15)
Obligation to provide positive feedback Responding to pictures; Friendships There was one situation that I did not see his [a friend’s] picture, because it did not load up for me. Then the next day he texted me, ‘Oh, can you like for me?’ I was like, ‘What picture?’…Then he started to get angry at me, because he thought I was just airing [avoiding] him, but I actually did not see it, because the picture did not load up for me. (M4)
(Mis)Trust Opportunities for adults to demonstrate trust Parents trust not to do anything bad; Not telling the truth When I first got a phone, my mum would say stuff like, “Don’t talk to people you don’t know,” or “Stay away from bad things,” and all that. Since then, I don’t think she has ever said anything about it. She’s kind of set ground rules. Then, now she kind of trusts me to not use it for anything bad or anything like that. (M1)
Self-disclosure and fear of screenshotting Privacy concerns; Online-offline communication I don’t like texting when it’s serious, because I know people can screenshot that… I’m just like, “I don’t trust you.” (F2)
Personal and group identity Sense of belonging Interests; shared experiences If you’re on five different group chats or if you’re texting people, you know you’re a part of a bigger community, because people want to get involved with you and they want to talk to you, so you feel more social... (M4)
Generational disconnect Adults can’t relate; Group differences …they feel like I’m not spending enough time with them and I feel like parents, because they can’t relate to it, with most kids and stuff they’re meant to relate to what happened to them when they’re growing up. Like, “Oh yes, that happened to me, don’t worry.” With phones obviously they didn’t have them when they were growing up so they can’t relate to it and they don’t know what it’s going to be like in the future or how we’re going to be impacted from it… (F15)